Mayoral Minute: A focus on water at Board Meeting

The General Manger and I both attended the Central NSW Joint Organisation Board meeting held on Thursday 27 August 2020; myself in person in Cowra whilst the General Manager attended online via Zoom.

The theme for the day was 'Productive Water' and there were a number of presentations given.

NSW Water Directorate: Mr Brendan Guiney, Executive Officer, provided an update on the role of the Water Directorate and the current operating environment for Local Government Local Water Utilities.

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment: Water representatives have been working with CNSWJO members to develop the Regional Water Strategies for the Lachlan and Macquarie catchments.

These strategies are a major step forward for long-term water planning across our region and present great opportunities for future collaboration with the JO.

Murray Darling Association Inc. (MDA): Phyllis Miller, Chair of Region 10 and Emma Bradbury Chief Executive Officer, updated the Board on work of the MDA including their new Strategic Plan.

Water NSW: Mr David Hogan, Alex Fisher, Stephen Negus and Alice Jarret presented on the Wyangala Dam Wall Raising Project.

Ms Steph Cooke MP: The Member for Cootamundra expressed her support of the CNSWJO.

From the discussion on the day there were several follow ups to be undertaken by Ms Cooke's Office, including Valuer General land valuations and Water Licences, Regional Show Societies receiving compensation.

Regional Procurement and Contract Management Report:

The Board approved:

  1. A procurement process for the supply and delivery of bitumen emulsion to be conducted on behalf of member Councils;
  2. A procurement process for WHS compliance training to be conducted on behalf of member Councils;
  3. The extension and variation of the pipe relining contract with Interflow for a period of 12 months;
  4. The extension of the CCTV for sewer and stormwater contracts with Interflow, Total Drain Cleaning and Toxfree for a period of 12 months;
  5. The Linemarking services contracts with Avante Linemarking, Central West Linemarking, Complete Linemarking, Oz Linemarking and Red Squirrel for a period of 12 months.

Report from the NSW JO Chairs' Forum (the Forum): Key areas of discussion in the forum, with a focus on JO sustainability going forward, were:

  • Opportunities in the funding and strategic framework for Councils and the State to derive value from water and waste;
  • Baseline funding for JOs;
  • The JO Sustainability Toolkit;
  • Aligning JOs with Regional NSW;
  • Submission to the Inquiry into the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs;
  • Providing advice on the Terms of Reference for the JO Review as contemplated by the Office of Local Government;
  • Activities being undertaken around the State by JOs; and
  • Support from the Minister for Local Government and the Office of Local Government for JO collaboration.

Codesigned Regional Leadership Executive and Central NSW Joint Organisation Consultation Policy: Members have been expressing frustration with consultation by State agencies in the region.

Joint Organisations have been designed to, among other things, enable collaboration between State and Local Government working regional; not replace engagement with Councils and their communities.